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WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Monday that he is imposing new sanctions on Iran, stepping up a policy of pressuring the nation’s leaders and the crippled Iranian economy in retaliation for what the United States says are recent aggressive acts by Tehran.
He said the order would bar Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, and his office from access to the international financial system. The Treasury Department said it also was imposing sanctions on eight Iranian military commanders, including the head of a unit that the Americans say was responsible for shooting down an American drone last Thursday.
Mr. Trump acted at a time of rising tensions with Iran, triggered in part by concern that Tehran is moving toward amassing more nuclear fuel. Mr. Trump has signaled that he prefers tightening sanctions to launching an immediate military strike as a means of altering Iran’s behavior and forcing political change in Tehran.
“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran,” Mr. Trump said as he sat at his desk in the Oval Office preparing to sign an executive order. “Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.”
The Trump administration already moved this spring to cut off all revenues from Iranian oil exports, the lifeblood of the nation’s economy. The new sanctions are aimed at preventing some top Iranian officials from using the international banking system or any financial vehicles set up by European nations or other countries. But the Iranian officials likely do not keep substantial assets in international banks, if any at all, or use those institutions for transactions, and any additional pressure from the new sanctions is likely to be minimal.
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